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Schneider, J.A. (2005). Reply to Dr Alexander. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 86(5):1479.

(2005). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 86(5):1479

Reply to Dr Alexander Related Papers

John A. Schneider

I am reminded of Bion's comment to his analysand James Grotstein, after Grotstein responded to one of Bion's interpretations by saying, ‘I understand.’ Bion paused, and then calmly said, Please try not to understand. If you must, superstand, circumstand, parastand, but please try not to understand (Grotstein, 1990, personal communication, cited in Ogden, 1997, p. 208).

Dr Alexander is trying very hard to ‘understand’ Bion, as if the purpose of reading Bion were to determine what Bion ‘really meant.’ To my mind, this way of reading Bion is contrary to the spirit of Bion, who embraced the fact that his knowledge was limited, self-contradictory, and always in the process of change.

To do something of one's own with Bion's thinking is not only a right, but a responsibility in what I view as the spirit of Bion.

22 August2005


Ogden TH (1997). Reverie and interpretation: Sensing something human. Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson.

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